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Google Pixel 3 news and early predictions

Google Pixel 3 news and early predictions

Google has been hitting their stride with their smartphones in recent years. When the first Google Pixel was released, many tech experts and consumers were impressed by the phone’s capabilities and features. In 2018, Google is expected to release the Google Pixel 3, and everyone seems to have even higher hopes for it.

Design
What we’re hearing through the grapevine is that the Pixel 3 will look a lot like its predecessor, featuring its classic backside shade, a USB-C port, and speakers in the bottom bezel. However, the larger Pixel 3 XL model could have a notch for the front-facing camera just like the iPhone X. The Pixel 3 will be around 5.3 inches, while the 3 XL version will be around 6.2 inches.

Google also hinted that there might be a third model released this year that could be a more compact, mid-range model for consumers on a budget.

Wireless charging
Leaked images show that the Pixel 3 has a glass back like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 series. Although nothing is set in stone, this could be an indication that the Pixel 3 will have wireless charging features.

Improved camera
While several other companies’ smartphones come with two rear cameras, it looks like Google is sticking with one. However, the single-lens rear camera will probably be powered by Google’s AI camera technology to take higher-quality photos with more background blur.

Faster hardware
Experts anticipate that the Pixel 3 will have significant improvements in its internal components. One leak has revealed that the Pixel 3 model will have at least 4GB of RAM and a modern, 2.8 GHz smartphone processor. That’s as fast as some mid-range laptops today, making the Pixel 3 an attractive option for executives who need a bit more power in their mobile devices.

Release date
Google has typically unveiled Pixel phones in early October, so look for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sometime this autumn. It’s also expected to be the first device to come with the highly anticipated Android P operating system, so think of it as an early Christmas present.

But remember, Google is still working on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, so there’s plenty of time for more changes and more updates.

To follow all the updates about the Pixel 3 and be the first to hear about the release date, stay tuned to our blog. We stay on top of the latest tech trends to help you sharpen your competitive edge.

Hide & Seek malware: What you need to know

Hide & Seek malware: What you need to know

What’s the worst thing that could happen to your Internet of Things (IoT) devices? If you guessed ‘getting infected with malware,’ you’re right. Many users think IoT gadgets don’t need the same protections required for PCs, laptops, and smartphones — but they do. There’s a new malware strain that attacks IoT-enabled devices, and you need to secure your IoT devices now more than ever.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

Chrome: From HTTP to HTTPS

Chrome: From HTTP to HTTPS

Within the last year, Chrome has helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure. More websites use HTTPS, a safer protocol, than ever before. So, how can you benefit from this transition? Find out here.

For several years, Google has moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt the Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption. And last year, Google began marking some HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) pages as “not secure” to help users comprehend risks of unencrypted websites. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of a Chrome update, Google’s browser will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Chrome’s move was mostly brought on by increased HTTPS adoption. Eighty-one of the top 100 sites on the web default to HTTPS, and the majority of Chrome traffic is already encrypted.

Here’s how the transition to security has progressed, so far:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

HTTPS: The benefits and difference

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? With HTTP, information you type into a website is transmitted to the site’s owner with almost zero protection along the journey. Essentially, HTTP can establish basic web connections, but not much else.

When security is a must, HTTPS sends and receives encrypted internet data. This means that it uses a mathematical algorithm to make data unreadable to unauthorized parties.

#1 HTTPS protects a site’s integrity

HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing.

Without encryption, someone with access to your router or internet service provider (ISP) could intercept (or hack) information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.

#2 HTTPS protects the privacy of your users

HTTPS prevents intruders from eavesdropping on communications between websites and their visitors. One common misconception about HTTPS is that only websites that handle sensitive communications need it. In reality, every unprotected HTTP request can reveal information about the behaviors and identities of users.

#3 HTTPS is the future of the web

HTTPS has become much easier to implement thanks to services that automate the conversion process, such as Let’s Encrypt and Google’s Lighthouse program. These tools make it easier for website owners to adopt HTTPS.

Chrome’s new notifications will help users understand that HTTP sites are less secure, and move the web toward a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier to adopt than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that aren’t possible with HTTP.

How can small-business owners implement and take advantage of this new interface? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts to get started.

How app overload reduces work productivity

How app overload reduces work productivity

Blessed are today’s businesses for having the benefits of technology to make operation more
efficient. Apps have been a big help in streamlining business processes across industries. But at the same time, these programs may cause error and confusion when unorganized — and that translates into lowered productivity.

How app confusion occurs
A new study conducted by CITE Research shows that a surplus of apps is causing a great deal of confusion in the workplace. Among the 2,000 workers from the US, UK, and Australia surveyed, 69% wasted as much as 32 days a year navigating between apps — that’s an hour of productivity lost every single day.

The same research — entitled From Work Chaos to Zen: How Application Overload Redefines the Digital Workplace — reveals the biggest problem is with communication apps and channels. On average, a single worker juggles four communication apps every day, which is pretty much like holding four conversations at one time. It’s even worse for 20% of the respondents who said they use six or more.

Furthermore, the average worker flips between apps as frequently as 10 times per hour, which means more time wasted. 56% of respondents felt that searching for information stored across different apps was disruptive while 31% said it caused them to lose their line of reasoning. It’s tempting to see each individual app as a problem-solver, but when looking at the bigger picture, it could be causing problems.

Coming up with a solution
Clearly, app overload has an immense effect on productivity, and the gap between executive perception and employee perception doesn’t help. Before signing up for yet another app, give your workflow a second look and consider the impacts of disruptive activities and employee preferences.

In the CITE Research study, workers agree that having only one communication app would clear up all the confusion. Regardless of what the best solution is, it’s probably more affordable than most small business owners realize. A managed IT services provider like us can provide guidance that puts you on track for long-term success. Give us a call today for more info.

Virtualization: Common misconceptions

Virtualization: Common misconceptions

Small businesses can accomplish a lot by implementing virtualization technology on their office IT network. Unfortunately, many SMBs shy away from it because of some common misconceptions. If you fall into that category, there are at least four myths you should stop believing.

Myth #1 – Virtualization is too expensive for SMBs

Many people assume that the more advanced an IT solution is, the more expensive it is to install and maintain. That’s not the case for virtualization, which is a strategy to boost hardware efficiency and cut costs.

Sure, a virtual server requires more support than a traditional one, but the capacity boost means you won’t need to purchase a second server for a long time — resulting in a net reduction of hardware and IT support expenses. Furthermore, managed virtualization services usually follow a pay-as-you-go model that costs just a few bucks per hour.

Myth #2 – Virtualization adds workplace complexity

Most people feel comfortable with the traditional computing model — one set of hardware equals one computer — but that doesn’t mean a new model has to be more complicated. With virtualization, one “traditional” computer can run as two or more virtual computers. The technical aspects of how that’s accomplished may be confusing, but the good thing is business owners don’t need to bother with those details.

Virtualization actually reduces complexity because it allows business owners to expand their IT systems whenever necessary without having to worry about hardware limitations.

Myth #3 – Support is hard to come by or inconvenient

You may be more familiar with The Cloud than with virtualization, but that doesn’t mean the latter is a niche technology. The value of the virtualization market in 2016 was $5.6 billion and supported by IT providers all over the country. It’s also a technology that works well with remote support, which means technicians can install upgrades or resolve issues without having to travel to your office.

Myth #4 – Software licensing is more difficult

There’s a misconception that if your server is running three virtual Windows 10 computers, you’ll have to jump through extra licensing hoops. In reality, virtualization follows the same licensing rules as traditional computing: one desktop, one license, which means you won’t need to rethink your software budget.

It’s natural for new technologies to cause confusion, and virtualization does require a new way of thinking about IT hardware. But as long as you have certified technicians like ours on hand, everything will run smoothly. Give us a call today to find out how we can lower your hardware costs and simplify your IT support.